A secret formula for effective music marketing: use the Recently Listened Tracks, My Radio, My PlayList, Top Artists This Week, and Top Artists Overall to promote your band and bands you like.
Think about it.
On Last.fm, artists mix with fans to an incredible degree, like is done on MySpaceMusic, but in a somewhat convoluted style. This is easy to grasp once you've done the metaphysical math, as I have done. It's not rocket science: people are curious about what other people, especially their peers and idols, are listening to.
The big idea, successfully executed with very few glitches, bugs, or downtime, on Last.fm is you share information on what you like and where to find more of it, and others do the same for you.
Thus a band or musical artist or net label CANNOT ram their crap into everybody's radar screen with amateur drivel like "If you like this band, you'll probably also like my band, the Hermeneutically Sealed Hero Sandwiches. Check it out at this URL: [blah blah blah]".
Every time I read a comment or shout box remark like that, I want to puke. It's a must to avoid. That undisguised self-hype is so 1950s, and nobody tolerates it anymore. Especially in the music, art, and film scenes. Get with it you old-fashioned slackers.
NEVER self-promote on any music social network. That's not what they're there for. It's all about sharing and caring about music. Not selling. Sales is sleazy, everybody knows that. Sales is bullying and marketing is deception. You must believe this, then find a more pure form of helping music lovers find your band.
Sales and advertising are demeaning intrusions, boring profit-machines, unwanted invaders. The only exception might be a low-key, self-deprecating, "marketing as nuisance" type announcement about a brand-new CD or video album DVD. Once. On your own site.
Do NOT use other artist's socnet pages to hype your shit.
Hype your shit on your own site. Period. Even then, do it as a footnote, a P.S., a "we hate advertising", reluctant, no-glam afterthought. Act [and actually BE] annoyed at having to announce a new product, -- especially if people have to lower themselves to actually paying for the shit. Most fans are used to getting FREE music, and will BUY music only when they've downloaded, legally hopefully, tons of material by the artist, prior to shelling out any sympathy cash for dreaded Paid Product.
"FREE music?," you whine like a shriveled miser. "How can the band eat, seduce women, and party -- with no money coming in from record sales?"
You make money with ticket sales for live shows, with special Paid Product that collector mentality fans will crave, with other things that I'm not going to reveal right now, since you're acting so dopey and clueless.
Now wake up you wankers.
Don't give those stupid 0:30 "previews" of your precious shitty music. Give the fans the whole shebang, the whole nine yards, the ENTIRE song.
How petty and full of misgivings is that? To grudgingly give a short excerpt of a song to fans, rather than the whole song? Get up off your genius music and share it, in its entirety, with your fans...or they'll move on to less stingy, less archaic and greedily uptight musical artists.
Now, you're a band and you're on Last.fm, right? Which makes you automatically, simultaneously, a fan. You're not just a band on Last.fm, you're also a fan, because Last.fm, if you allow it, will track your song plays on iTunes.
Okay? So when fans of your music arrive at your Last.fm page, they'll see your glorious junk, plus what music you're listening to, both right now, and in the past. Use this information display to your advantage.
One of the best ways to promote your music is to inflict it on other bands. BUT, BUT, BUT -- the only way to inflict your music on other bands is to give them FREE records, tapes, and CDs of it, or to praise them on their own Shoutbox (or MySpaceMusic comments). Compliment your idols, wait a long time, do it again, and eventually, someday when they're bored and curious, they may listen to a bit of your band's groaning and flapping around on instruments they should NOT be playing.
Once these idolized bands are hooked on your tunes, nice things might happen. Once these guys get it "under their skin", once your music has somehow wormed its way into their memory jukebox, and they like a few seconds of it, you may end up reaching all their fans, as these other bands critique, disrespect, and complain about your music.
Got it? Now do this: compile playlists on your iTunes, NOT with your shit, BUT with the great tunes of other bands. You'll be promoting the other bands, not your own.
(NOTE: I'm a lousy example. My own Last.fm Top Artists list displays something like 400 plays of Str8 Sounds, versus 20 or 30 plays of other bands, but all that happened accidentally, before I knew this Secret Music Marketing Technique, the one I'm sharing with you now.)
Strategic Last.fm Listening, Introductory Principles of:
1. You compile playlists, call them "Killer Kuts" or whatever, of bands you really enjoy, and want to help publicize...but also throw in famous, high-recognition bands, as long as you honestly like them, so people will be able to relate to you. All esoteric tastes is a turn-off, from a marketing viewpoint (not condemning your tastes, just tripping you into a new way to participate in the New Online Music Scene.)
2. Play these playlists ("every little once in a while" -Leadbelly).
3. Fans, when they arrive at your Last.fm page, will see what you're listening to, and be able to click on their names (in most cases), and visit the Last.fm page of those artists.
4. Your own avatar will display on the Last.fm pages of these other artists, perhaps, if you're lucky, as a Top Listener. This may cause those bands you idolize to want to check out your own band, and may contact you about opening for them in their upcoming European Tour and other stuff like that.
5. You indirectly promote your own music, when you strategically listen to other bands that, if a fan of them discovered your music, they might like it. Not that you necessarily sound anything like the bands you admire, but the same attitude or charisma is present. You're saying, "Hey everybody, I dig these bands and songs. It reflects handsomely upon my own music, to be a fan of these cool artists, I hope."
6. Strangers, those you've requested to Add as Friends, have your Recently Listened, Top Artists, etc. to use to evaluate what kind of person you are: classical, jazzy, goth, punk, new wave, mystical, folksy, bluesy, noisey, radical, artistic, experimental, exploratory, grungey, pop, electronic, tribal, afro-beat, ragga jungle, down tempo industrial, pensive ambient, outsider, avant-garde, etc.
7. Thus, you, an unknown purveyor of musical slop, go from Stranger to Friend, based largely on what music you tend to listen to, as displayed on your Last.fm page. This is the chief business of music marketing. There's too much music, and it's too easily available. So, how do you become an item that is known, liked, buzzed about, craved, collected obsessively, asked to contribute to compilations, get invited to group shows, etc.? By giving out tons of FREE music...and making it easy for fans to get to know the real you. That's how.
I had a lot more to say about all this, but I need to make today's new album by Str8 Sounds, as I generally release one new album every day, it takes a couple hours, and I certainly, by all means, must not allow myself to betray the legend I'm building.
Adios until next time.
Your pay pal, Vaspers.